KALMAH – 12 Gauge

KALMAH - 12 Gauge
  • 8/10
    KALMAH - 12 Gauge - 8/10


Spinefarm Record
Release date: February 24, 2010

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

After a shot from this shotgun, you will live another day in the cold swamps. Also, you will live to hear another album by the Finnish Melodic Death Metal group Kalmah (from translation: “To The Grave”). Continuing their fast forward album stream, the Kokko house and their gang unleashed another shell out of their gun which goes by the name of 12 Gauge. The choosing for the name is maybe not that random.

On some occasions this kind of weapon was used to end one’s life in critical situations of suicides while choosing to give up. However, with that notion, Kalmah kept on dealing with the same themes that lead them through their career like their local swamps, Finnish history and personal life struggles. 12 Gauge is between hard life and cold death (mostly with a purpose) and almost like on every Finnish release, and on the same range of sub-genres, filled with an aura that channels the cold landscapes of their home.

On musical terms, Kalmah upgraded themselves into a new level of heaviness and another type of brutality. Their riffs on the album, as opposed to their past, didn’t make them out as yet another Children Of Bodom style band, as the early Norther albums were. In the past, they had been categorized as Melodic Death Metal, one can say that this definition is a bit complicated. Kalmah is an extreme band with no doubt, nevertheless, they sound like speed type extreme Power Metal with elements of Thrash and neo-classical characters. Moreover, the keyboards, which turned out to be an indispensible attribute of the music, took more dominance out of the twin guitars. Although the guitars, especially the lead guitar role made by Antti Kokko, serve as a bombastic charge of enormous melodies similar to Helloween meets Maiden while both on steroids, without the cover and active responsibility of the keyboards and their “side by side” fusion with the guitars, the music would not have been so grand.

Spine chillers such as “Rust Never Sleeps”, “One Of Fail” and “Sacramentum” show this exact fact. The latter even presents a true talent of cosmic solo playing by the keys (well done Marco Sneck). However, with the band’s great work on the music, they have a bit of let downs.

Pekka Kokko, co-founder/guitarist, served, right from the beginning, as the band’s vocalist. With all of his talents as a mid-low growler, the guy didn’t amaze on this album. In some areas, it seemed to have been better if he stayed on singing on a mid-growl pattern, than on deep down lower. Kalmah has some good lyrics, it would have been nice to understand them a bit.
Another small flaw on the album is connected to the production. There are some moments on several of the songs when you can hear low volume melodies. It’s unknown if those were parts of the songs or just smaller additions, yet, they sounded good. Therefore, you have to stretch your hearing, or bear headphones, to notice them.

12 Gauge has a number of good qualities to help you get into Kalmah even more, not all the tracks, but a solid number of them. Besides the best that were mentioned, there are “Better Not To Tell”, “12 Gauge” and “Bullets Are Blind”. Also, whoever has the bonus version will enjoy the nice cover of the old Thin Lizzy tune of “Cold Sweat”. Go for it stone cold sober and fetch yourself a Kalmah.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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